Senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday denied remarks attributed to her questioning party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership qualities, saying she believes he would make a “good prime minister”.
Soon after PTI reported that the 77-year-old Congress stalwart had voiced reservations about Rahul’s possible elevation as party president and pitched for his mother Sonia Gandhi to continue in the post, Dikhshit claimed she had made no such remarks.
Dikshit told NDTV that what she had said to PTI was that "Sonia Gandhi is a good president" and that Rahul "would make a good prime minister".
"I did not name Rahul Gandhi in the interview at all," she said.
Rahul, 44, has been criticized for going on a nearly two-month sabbatical at a time when the Congress is dealing with a number of crucial issues, including a move to oppose the government’s plan to push through a land acquisition bill.
He is set to return from his "leave of absence" later this week to participate in a series of events that will focus on the problems of farmers and Dalits.
His is tipped to replace Sonia as party chief in the near future.
Dikshit's son Sandeep recently suggested that the Congress will not benefit from Sonia making way for Rahul in the top post.
Criticism of Rahul’s leadership within the Congress has been growing since he led the party to its worst ever showing in a general election last year, when the grand old party bagged just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha.
Earlier, PTI had quoted Dikshit as saying that under Sonia Gandhi there was a "comfort feeling" and the Congress could rely on her "overpowering and very successful" leadership for its revival